CHELSEA players are divided over whether referee Mark Clattenburg actually aimed a racist remark at John Obi Mikel.
SunSport can reveal some Blues stars are sceptical about the shock allegations and pressure is mounting on the club to physically prove the remarks were made.
Significantly, the club have not yet officially complained to the police about the alleged incident — even though the Society of Black Lawyers has.
Mikel’s team-mates Ramires and David Luiz told the midfielder they heard ref Clattenburg make an ‘inappropriate comment’ during Blues’ 3-2 defeat against Manchester United nine days ago.
They were so furious they asked for Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay to go to the dressing room after the game and listen to their version of events.
An insider said: “They were saying the club had to look after them and take action. They said the club had stood by John Terry in his race row with Anton Ferdinand and now it had to do the same for them.
“But the other players weren’t so vocal and wanted a cooling-down period — mainly because they didn’t hear the ref say anything.”
Even if Clattenburg, 37, is proved innocent, it may be many years before he is allowed to officiate at a Chelsea game again.
He is being ‘rested’ again this weekend while the FA investigates and a refs’ insider told SunSport: “There are concerns about the implications of him refereeing a Chelsea match.
“For starters it would place the pre-match handshake under great scrutiny yet again, as all the players are supposed to shake hands with the ref before each game.
“If Mark was put back in charge of a Chelsea match immediately afterwards, the attention would be phenomenal.
“It may even make sense to keep him away from Chelsea for good, which is a shame as he is one of this country’s top three referees — and Chelsea are one of the top three football clubs.”
Clattenburg, who denies allegations made by the Blues, is due to meet the FA and police this week.